Pandemic Pre-Season: Irish Athletes Can Train in Paradise in the Canary Islands

The Canary Islands has become well-known within the global fitness community for its top-quality training facilities for elite sportsmen and women, with highly qualified professionals and services including sports healthcare, hypoxia chambers and DLF telemetry. This combined with the Canaries’ low number of Covid cases, great weather and diverse landscape make for perfect conditions for top-level training and preparation for athletes from all specialties.


From sports centres to incredible natural landscapes, the Canary Islands is home to some of the best indoor and open-air sports facilities in Europe.

Located on the island of Tenerife, the Antonia Dominguez Alfonso Olympic Stadium opened in 1969 and is one of the best sports training facilities in the archipelago. The stadium boasts two fields, a 400m RFEA approved athletics track, a state-of-the-art gym and a boxing gym. This facility welcomes athletes from all over Europe for training and also holds numerous competitions including the International Combined Events Meeting.

Interested in outdoor training? The Canaries scenery with its beaches, valleys, forests and peaks, including the highest peak in Spain, seems to have been designed for sports activities. The Big Challenge Ultra-Trail Descent Route is one of the most challenging training routes in Gran Canaria. This downhill trail stretches almost 50km and starts in the peaks of Gran Canaria, finishing in the coastal town of Melenara. This route is loved by athletes of all fields and is particularly good for building up the calves and glutes.


The Canary Islands are home to some incredible cycling routes. The volcanic landscapes of the islands make for a variety of routes for road biking, from calming coastal tracks to challenging mountain rides. Cyclists can ride from the north to the south of the Tenerife, beginning in Puerto de la Cruz, followed by a climb through the Valle de La Orotava and its stunning Canarian pine forest. This route takes cyclists to a height of 2,000m, in preparation for el Circo de Las Cañadas, a 42km climb with a great reward: the chance to cycle at the foot of el Teide, the highest mountain in Spain. From here, it is on to an easy descent though the valley of Ucanca, a route chosen by teams, such as Sky, in their preseason training.

Cyclists will then descend on the road to Chio, from where the islands of La Gomera and La Palma can be seen on a clear day, before passing through the small, charming villages of Aripe and Chirche. After returning to wider roads, cyclists will enjoy a continuous descent to the beach at Las Vistas, the finish line of this wonderful route, which ends in the tourist town of Los Cristianos.


Calling all triathletes! The 2021 Total Tri Spring Camp will take place from the 20th – 27th of April 2021 at Sands Beach Resort on the north east coast of Lanzarote. This training camp is open to triathletes looking to boost their fitness levels for the coming season, focussing on getting good volume in the body pre-season, as most athletes come into this period with a high intensity base over the winter. Over the seven days, athletes can expect swim sessions, coached bike and run sessions, low athlete to coach ratio, educational seminars and small group coach led talks, transition practice as well as stretch and recover sessions.


It’s no secret that the Canary Islands is one of the UK’s best-loved holiday destinations and having one of the warmest climates in Europe most-likely has something to do with that. Year-round, the islands’ temperature average between 18 to 24°, without any extreme hot or cold, making it the perfect location for athletes in training.


Training at higher altitudes with lower atmospheric pressure is proven to promote an increase in red blood cells in athletes to compensate for the lack of oxygen, leading to improved sport performance.

The landscapes of the Canary Islands allow athletes to easily move from sea level to altitudes of more than 1800 metres. Given the archipelago’s volcanic origin, the islands are full of steep valleys and soaring peaks, including Mount Teide in Tenerife. This volcano offers the ideal training ground for cyclists preparing for competitions, such as Giro d’Italia or Tour de France, as there’s nowhere else like it in the world.


Dating back thousands of years, the Canary Islands have been considered a destination for health and healing. The archipelago doesn’t just provide the perfect location for training, but also for recovery. Here, athletes can avail of natural volcanic therapies, spa treatments the islands’ secret weapon: sunlight. While soaking in the sun may not be top of an athlete’s training list, sunlight hours are linked to the production of serotonin, which is proven to boost mental strength and help overcome difficulties in training.

Wherever you are in the Canary Islands, you’re never too far away from the sea. A swim or quick dip in the sea is a known method for recovering athletes. In the Canaries, the volcanic water is rich in nutrients making it perfect for practicing thalassotherapy. Furthermore, the sea breeze is loaded with mineral salts and negative ions, which have a relaxing and detoxifying effect on the body.


The Canary Islands are not just used for training athletes, but also for competing. Every year the islands host a range of events for both elite sportsmen and women. Some of the most famous competitions include, the Ironman Lanzarote, the Gran Canaria Marathon and the Transvulcania in La Palma.

For more information on the Canary Islands please visit



For more information, please contact Niamh Waters